Employees’ Experience of Workplace Bullying: A Study of Chinese Workers in the New Zealand Hospitality Industry

Gong, Ping
Poulston, Jill
Mooney, Shelagh
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Master of International Hospitality Management
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Auckland University of Technology

The issue of workplace bullying has been studied in different countries and industries; however, researches into workplace bullying in the New Zealand hospitality industry are limited. This small exploratory study identified sources, impacts, and influential factors of workplace bullying, and the coping strategies of those subjected to workplace bullying, particularly focusing on Chinese workers in the New Zealand hospitality industry. The research was conducted using a qualitative approach. Eight Chinese workers from New Zealand hospitality businesses completed semi-structured interviews, and data were analysed used thematic coding.

The research findings show three major sources of workplace bullying in New Zealand hospitality workplaces: superiors, senior colleagues and guests. Perpetrators’ bullying behaviours were verbal abuse, ostracising behaviour, sexual harassment, unfair workload and false accusations/blame, and such bullying contributes to Chinese workers’ negative emotions and work performance. The five influential factors including weak organisational support, English language difficulties, introverted and timid personalities, lack of work-related experience and skills, and Chinese cultural behaviours were identified as contributing to the bullying of Chinese workers in New Zealand hospitality workplaces. Chinese workers in this study coped with bullying using avoidance and rejection, talking to peers and seeking help from organisations. Additionally, Chinese cultural values were found to contribute to workers’ timid personalities, further orienting their avoidance and tolerance behaviour towards workplace bullying, and traditional high-power distance in Chinese workplaces also led to bullying.

The findings of this study contribute to research into workplace bullying in New Zealand by allocating a particular focus on Chinese workers in the New Zealand hospitality industry. The research results offer valuable insights into understanding Chinese workers’ experiences of workplace bullying in New Zealand hospitality workplaces, and the discussion provides practical information to New Zealand hospitality organisations to help them develop anti-bullying policy and strategies.

Workplace bullying , Hospitality , New Zealand , Chinese workers
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